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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // March 24, 2022 // 4(6)
Feature Stories
Unexpected Events Impact Agricultural Markets (click to read)
Unexpected Events Impact Agricultural Markets »

Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) releases annual U.S. Baseline Outlook report

Chantelle Wimms and Kendra Esparaza-Harris named George Washington Carver Fellows (click to read)
Chantelle Wimms and Kendra Esparaza-Harris named George Washington Carver Fellows »

The George Washington Carver Fellowship for Graduate Studies helps support under-represented scholars in MS and PhD degree programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at the University of Missouri (MU)

From Sap to Syrup (click to read)
From Sap to Syrup »

Hands-on learning learning sometimes comes with a treat in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Research Highlights
Learn more about CAFNR's research enterprise (click to read)
Learn more about CAFNR's research enterprise »

See how CAFNR takes research from the laboratory to the field

MU has $5B Impact (click to read)
MU has $5B Impact »

In the past four years, the UM System’s economic impact has risen by more than $1 billion

CAFNR Research Council Holds Webinar Series

The CAFNR Research Council is hosting a series of webinars featuring speakers discussing timely topics. The next webinar in the series is today, March 24, at 3:30 p.m., and will feature John Driver, associate professor in the Division of Animal Sciences. Find the link to the webinar and previous webinars on the CAFNR Research Council’s page. 

Grant Team Tips

CAFNR Federal Grants 101 Training April 7

The CAFNR Grants Office will be hosting a Federal Grants 101 Training on April 7 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Agriculture Building room 2-43. This two-hour workshop will help you identify which federal funding agency aligns best with your research interests, and help you design a proposal submission plan for an upcoming federal funding opportunity. You will leave the workshop with a concrete plan to submit a grant to a federal funding opportunity with you as the principal investigator. The workshop will focus on funding opportunities with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. All are welcome, but postdoctoral scholars and new faculty are especially encouraged to attend.

For more information or to register, please reach out to Liz Bent at

National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI RFA Released

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has released the request for applications for their flagship research program – the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). With deadlines beginning in May, now is the ideal time to pull your research team together and begin planning your submission with the CAFNR Grants Office. The RFA is available online here.

Grant Spotlight

Abraham Koo, associate professor in biochemistry, received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project titled Regulation of the early steps of wound-activated jasmonate biosynthesis. The award total was for $287,535.

To meet the growing needs of global food production, crop losses due to pests must be minimized. Many pest resistance responses in plants are mediated by a hormonal signal called jasmonate (JA). The broader aim of this project is to understand plants built-in defense mechanisms mediated by JA as an important step toward developing sustainable pest mitigation measures. More specifically, this project will elucidate the very first step(s) of JA biosynthesis and how it is linked to the perception of pest attacks by the plant cells.

“Available evidence points towards involvement of enzymes called lipases that hydrolyze that membrane lipids as primary regulatory point,” said Koo. “Uncovering biochemical regulation of lipases has potential applications in the food, cosmetic, detergent and pharmaceutical industries.”

Membrane ion channels analogous to those involved in animal neurotransmissions are involved in pest-activated defense responses in plants.

“Learning how these elements are organized and engaged to carryout analogous functions across kingdoms is fascinating and will lead to more fundamental understanding about cell signaling.”

This project will contribute to STEM education and public science literacy in several ways, the first being undergraduate participation in research will be promoted directly and indirectly through the PI’s core and institutional programs. Secondly, public science literacy will be enhanced through Sci-LiFT (Science Literacy for Future Teachers) program aimed at including future secondary school science teachers in authentic research. Training in future teachers and undergraduates will have far reaching impacts on society, Koo said.

Research Roars

Abner Womack to Receive Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor Abner Womack on May 18. Womack is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics and co-founder of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI-MU) at the University of Missouri. Womack will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence.

Two Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Students Win Poster Awards 

Neil McMillian and Eric Lis were awarded poster awards at the Cardiovascular Research Day hosted by the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. McMillian was awarded the Graduate Student Award and Lis was awarded the Undergraduate Student Award.

Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Students Receive Awards through the American Physiological Society 

Four students in the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program received awards through the American Physiological Society (APS). Brian Shariffi won the Martin Frank Diversity Travel Award, Dain Jacobs received the Environmental and Exercise Physiology Section Gatorade Sport Science Institute Predoctoral Research Award, Eric Lis was a recipient of the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horwitz Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award and Alan Maloney received the Endocrinology and Metabolism Section Research Recognition Award.

In the News

Economists forecasts food bills won’t be dropping soon

Jefferson City News-Tribune

MU professor predicts little relief for food prices inflation

Missouri Ag Connection

Maple syrup producers in the lower Midwest tap into small, local markets

Iowa Public Radio

High livestock feed costs contribute to higher milk prices for consumers


As spring approaches, Columbia looks back on winter weather

Columbia Missourian

Russian invasion of Ukraine has farmers paying a lot more for fertilizer

St. Louis Public Radio